[Custom Stick] Sunk-in buttons

Hi everyone,

I’m building my first stick and I’m having some problems drilling clean holes for sunk-in/recessed buttons, using a hand drill with spade bits.

I first drill a 30mm hole a couple of milimeters deep in the surface (maple wood) then a 24mm with the same center as the previous hole, it works but the result is very dirty. The space between the two holes should be nice and flat so the button can rest on it but instead the wood is splintered, with fibers coming out.

I would like to obtain something clean like this:



What am I doing wrong, am I not using the correct drill bit or tool ?

Thanks in advance for any help :slight_smile:

If you wanna have a nice, clean hole, you need forstner bits.

They’re expensive, but hole saws and spade bits just dont do as good of a job.

Would a little sanding fix the issue?

Everything is clean with the spade bit if I go all the way through the surface to drill, it works very well for MDF or plexi. However if the drilling is stopped half way deep in hard wood, then the far end of the hole is not flat due to the shape of the spade bit, sanding is not enough to fix this it seems… when I do the second hole it gets nastier and the wood blows out even more.

This won’t happen if I use a Forstner bit? Can I achieve a good result if I invest in a cheap router, is it worth it ?

Thanks again :slight_smile:

After the first hole it basically looks like this:

you need to use a forstner bit. Use a 30mm bit to go as deep as you need for the recess, then you can use your 24mm spade bit to drill the hole for the button. Forstner bits are designed to give a neat flat bottom to the hole you’re drilling.

I’ve had a play around with this myself and struggled to get a good result with my hand drill and wonky workbench (the holes weren’t going in straight) so I gave up on the idea of having recessed buttons. I need a drill press.

forstner is where its @

What Domz says.

If you want holes likethese you’re gonna want a 24mm and 30mm fostner bits and a nice router bit to clean up the edges

Man… you all got me wanting Forstner bits. I was just compelled into ordering the 16-bit set from MLCS just a few moments ago. =[

i used a router for mine… did a great job


arr4ws your stick looks like candy… almost edible

OMG that stick is sexy arrow

I’m glad I found this, i’d been wondering the same thing

Yep just like everyone said, it’s best to use forstner bits. I had to buy some for my project, they were super cheap but they worked (so far! haha) I’m pretty sure maple is a harder wood than MDF though.

Here they are:

I also used an chamfer router bit to do the edges, found here (also cheap as hell lol) It’s the left top one.

And what mine looks like:


Hey thanks a lot for your advices, they were very helpful.

I’ll go ahead and buy a Forstner bits set, they seem hard to find where I live and those available are quite expensive, but I must admit your recessed button holes are all beautiful! My spade bits will be useless now…

Now I have a very stupid question, if I want to clean the edges is it possible to use router bits with a hand drill ? (I don’t have a router)

^^'ve been wondering the same for a long time… who can help us please? :slight_smile:

No, what helps a router do clean cuts is the way the base sits flat on the work. You can’t reproduce that by hand with a drill.

Def need to use a router bit of some sort. Worked great for me:

drill press helps out more than any hand drill ever could :slight_smile:

i picked one up at lowes for about $110.00 a few months ago. it’s only a 10" SKIL but i’ve never been happier with a purchase.

a router bit with a guide bearing will help you to keep from eating away the recess. as always - test on a piece of scrap first to make sure you get it right before moving on.

@ butteroj

those are like super recessed - how do you keep your fingers from falling in haha. love them though. i hadn’t seen them that deep before.

Yeah I know. I wanted to try something different and am happy with it. On my other stick they arent recessed enough and keep hitting my knee. In person it looks like 2 giant eyes staring at you :rofl: